Between September 2020 and March 2021 Dr. Niamh Shaw was in Abbeyleix, Co Laois. Niamh worked with Abbeyleix Tidy Towns to find creative ways to engage the community with all aspects of climate change.
The project saw Laois County Council creatively engaging the community of Abbeyleix with the topic of climate change. Artist and Science Communicator Dr Niamh Shaw was appointed Science Communicator in Residence to work with Abbeyleix Tidy Towns on creative ways to engage the community with all aspects of climate change (September 2020 – March 2021). The project encompassed making videos of work already ongoing, hosting online discussion panels featuring local speakers and international experts, organising interactive citizen science workshops, and building capacity and confidence in the members on science communication and digital storytelling.
Watch the video below to learn about the beginnings of this award winning project. In 2021 the Abbeyleix Climate Action Project won the prestigious Supporting Sustainable Communities award in the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards.
Abbeyleix Climate Action Walk
One of the outputs of the Abbeyleix Climate Action Project was the Climate Action walk installed to celebrate the end of Niamh’s Science Communicator in Residence.
The Climate Action Walk guides people along Main Street Abbeyleix with a series of ceramic tiles from Heritage House to Abbeyleix. Each tile has a QR code, and when scanned the users mobile device will open the related video. An online Story Map has also been created so anyone in the world can virtually follow the walk via the video series. The Story Map and accompanying series of 6 videos can be found below.
The Climate Action Walk was supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council, Abbeyleix Tidy Towns and Midlands Science.
The walk was created thanks to the support of Healthy Ireland, an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland Fund and the Sláintecare Fund delivered by Pobal,
administered by Laois County Council.
Visit Abbeyleix and enjoy walk or virtually visit here.
Fast Facts – Wisdom about our planet videos
Another aspect of the Abbeyleix Climate Action Project was the Fast Facts – Wisdom about our planet video series. In the series of short videos exploring climate action on a local level, Dr Niamh Shaw meets people from diverse walks of life in Abbeyleix Co Laois, who are taking climate actions every day, to make a difference. The audience liked hearing local experiences and tips from people that they knew and trusted.
For Science week there was a panel discussion held on Facebook Live called Local Heros of Climate Action were locals spoke on what climate change meant to them and on a range of topics from health and well-being to biodiversity.
Please go to Abbeyleix Tidy Towns and enjoy the fast facts series.
Almanac TV Series
Weekly magazine show on Facebook live on Saturday morning for 5 consecutive weeks during lockdown featuring local community contributions on nature, birdwatching, gardening, sustainable energy, crafts, local heritage, climate action, citizen science, future projects and lots more. It received wide viewership and connected the local community during a period of social isolation on local environmental issues.
A “Speaker Series” of online talks with a range of international speakers looked at climate change from the polar regions to the desert and all the bits in between. It highlighted climate actions that we can all do and the psychology of how climate change impacts us. Enjoy the “Speaker Series” talks here or enter https://www.abbeyleixtidytowns.net/climate-action-project/speaker-series into your browser.
Climate Action Schools Resource
In June 2023 a new Primary school resource for 2nd-6th classes was launched. The resource is based on the Abbeyleix Walk video series by Dr Niamh Shaw. There are 4 Lesson plans linked to one of the walk videos, each with information and activities on a different aspect of climate change.
Click here to download Climate Action Laois – primary school resource
June 2023, Launch of Climate Action Laois primary school resource with (back row, l-r) Dr Niamh Shaw (Dream Big), Suzanne Dempsey (Laois County Council) and Susan Adams (Education for Sustainability), and in front row, pupils from Abbeyleix.